Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council sues city to stop South Huntington development

The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council yesterday sued the city over the Zoning Board of Appeals' approval of a luxury housing project at the Home for Little Wanderers site on South Huntington Avenue, the Jamaica Plain Gazette reports.

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Hmmm I hope the JPNC's head

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Hmmm I hope the JPNC's head doesn't peremently get stuck up their asses.

Dissolve the JPNC

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If a body with only 8 members out of 20 present can incur legal fees for the community, it is time to shut it down and retool. I don't get the opposition to this. They are going to add housing to a neighborhood which needs it, just like the Brewery Lofts. The opposition makes it sound like the developers are going to build a luxury apartment tower on the field where JP Soccer plays.

Longwood Annex

I went to the last community meeting before the Zoning Board decision and there were quite a few people there giving reasons why this development should not happen, at least the way it's drawn now.

My main problem with this development is that the developer refuses to even try to incorporate the existing 1906 building in the design, even though this was done successfully up the street by a non-profit organiztion. LEED Platinum or not, the greenest building usually is the one that is already constructed. Plus, this isn't being built to help JPers have more housing, it's being built so folks who work in the Longwood area have more housing. I don't see it as being good for JP overall.

I didn't agree with the City's decision on this as there seemed to be a lot of opposition to the development at the meeting, but chalked it up to money talking. And since you don't know me, I'm not a NIMBY'er and happen to make a living in construction, so it's not about not wanting to build anything, I'd just like to see the right thing built.

" Plus, this isn't being

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" Plus, this isn't being built to help JPers have more housing, it's being built so folks who work in the Longwood area have more housing."

So what?! God forbid some doctors should live in a nice building in JP, and, mind you, pay property taxes. This idea that JP should just build housing for people who don't have money is ridiculous. There is more low income housing in Jamaica Plain than in any neighborhood in Boston that isn't Roxbury or Dorchester. WE DON'T NEED MORE!

We need to encourage private investment in our community, not discourage it by suing anyone who tries to build something upscale.

This is the JPNC doing what it always does. Making ridiculous demands that don't get met because if the developer were to try to meet them they'd lose their shirts.

I would say that I identify myself as pretty liberal, but this crosses so many lines it's not even funny. 20 people elected to the JPNC should not be allowed to depress this neighborhood any longer. First it was Whole Foods, now it's this. JP is becoming a desirable neighborhood to live in. GET OVER IT! Stop trying to intentionally depress it and make it suck!

"We don't need more"

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Yes, we do. You live in what is de facto the inner city. Stop complaining about poor people. This city does not need more "luxury" condos, while they lie empty in places like Somerville and Medford.

You're ridiculous

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No one is complaining about poor people. We're complaining about a council that basically asks private developers to lose money, or they'll sue them. That is ridiculous, and so are you. If JP is a desirable enough neighborhood that people want to buy luxury condos in it, why shouldn't they be built? Because people don't want to live in Medford/Somerville? GREAT argument.

No, because there is no need for it to be there

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And all those rentals are empty because there aren't enough people to fill them. Just because there are a few pretentious yuppies who can afford them and want them in JP, doesn't mean it should happen. I've had enough of these tree hugging assholes who talk about "diversity and culture" and then price the same people they pretend to care about right out of the neighborhood.

Aren't these rentals?

From the meeting I attended, I understood these to be rentals, so Dr. McStuffins won't be paying property tax.

Build housing for whomever you'd like, I am just tired of seeing the same old crap that's down the way on Huntington. One of the awesome things about JP to me is the diversity of architecture. I hate that this stretch of South Huntington is becoming a concrete corridor. That's why I'd like to see at least the 1906 structure kept in some way. Also, is it Sherrill House who just expanded but kept the original building? This is a non-profit who was able to make that particular design work. A private developer who is priding himself on not using any public funds should have been able to make that work. Heck, they took a dilapidated nursing home and made it into a boutique hotel.

And if someone thinks the JPNC is so crummy, s/he should go to these meetings! Tell them! If the only people who show up are in cahoots with the JPNC, there is no dialogue. I think out of at least 20 speakers at the meeting, only 1, maybe 2 spoke in favor of the project.

I'm personally done with this particular fight. I said my peace at the meeting and the City went another way. I'm for housing for anyone who needs it, I'd just like to see the integrity of the neighborhood maintained even a little bit.

JPNC Needs to Go

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I am so tired of the JPNC supposing to speak for this community. As a resident of Jamaica Plain, and a property owner therein I can tell you I will be voting against every individual on the council now the next time they're up for a vote, I don't even care who they're running against. Their continued efforts to intentionally depress this neighborhood are disgusting. God forbid a private developer should come in and spend an enormous amount of their own money to try to build something upscale in this area! Fie to they who won't bend to the whims of the JPNC.

There aren't better things you could be doing? Like figuring out how to keep JP kids off of the street after school? Activities in the area to bring the community together? No, instead we'd rather file a law suit against a private citizen who's trying to bring something good to this community. Could you be any MORE divisive?

Pull your heads out of your asses, JPNC. You're making people in your community very unhappy.

Why?

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Why?

I think the building is worth

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I think the building is worth saving--even just as a facade. I don't want to see yet another ugly brick and tinted glass building go up in the neighborhood with moderne metal panels or whatever if it can be helped. I am happy for it to be built otherwise.

I think we should build low-income housing in parts of JP where there isn't any--like maybe Moss Hill, Sumner Hill, and Pondside. People are always delighted with low-income housing as long as it isn't near them and it is in some part of JP where there is already plenty of it.

see Egleston Square and Parkside

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We've lost battle after battle to stop having low income housing built in our part of JP. I've already got two on my block and another JPNC pet project is going up to provide SROs for homeless people just around the corner. Most of the people at the various meetings supporting these real estate depressing projects? Pondsiders.

Well said

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I'm a JP resident and homeowner and I've come to loath the JPNC and all it stands for over the ten years that we've lived in this neighborhood. Put simply, the council is filled with a bunch of grandstanding jackasses who honestly believe that they can stop the process. Put simply, economic development and the removal of urban blight is anathema to the council. Instead of working to keep new residential developments and other ostensible improvements out of JP, why don't these asshats focus on the real predators upon the economically disadvantaged in the neighborhood: the Rentacenter, check cashing places, wildluy over priced bodegas and liquor stores, and the gang bangers and dealers in Jackson Square and Forest Hills. Making an effort to deal with those problems would require that the council offer up real solutions, something the JPNC has historically been incapable of doing as it chooses instead to shout about the "inequalities" of gentrification and "ruin of this once racially diverse, proud" and (and crime ridden) neighborhood.

When the JPNC pays my ridiculous tax bill then they can dictate what goes into my neighborhood.

Couldn't Agree More

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Amen. I would love to know where they got their supposed mandate to keep legitimate, positive private investment out of this neighborhood in lieu of more low income housing and stifled development. Certainly not from me.

Should have saved the $275 filing fee

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If I read the JP News account of this correctly, the organization (not an abutting property owner or individual property owner that will be impacted) is the named plaintiff.

If that's the case, perhaps the JPNC should have reviewed the case of Harvard Square Defense Fund v. City of Cambridge Planning Board decided in 1989 by the Massachusetts Appeals Court before they marched in to Court.

http://masscases.com/cases/app/27/27massappct491.html

Both the Appeals Court and the SJC in subsequent decisions have affirmed (as a matter of law) that when challenging a zoning approval, you (as a plaintiff) have to demonstrate (a) some non-speculative harm that will specifically impair your private property rights and (b) that the zoning ordinance intended to protect you from that harm. Fortunately for developers, being an anti development "community organization" doesn't necessarily cut it anymore. Merely having a general civic interest alone doesn't give legal standing to organizations such as the JPNC.

Prediction: Developer moves to have the case dismissed for lack of standing and prevails before any question concerning the merits of the appeal are even reached.

What you call urban blight

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is where many hard working Bostonians live, thanks. Love seeing all you yuppies show your real colors...you pretend to care about minorities, but when it comes down to it, it's all about ME ME ME. Repulsive.

Another Townie Jackass Brays

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Seriously - YOU DIDN'T READ WHAT SHE WROTE YOU JUST REACTED.

Urban Blight = "check cashing places" and "my special property that I don't live in but that I don't bother to maintain as a slumlord who inherited it from my sainted working class mother".